My Brightest Diamond: New Mp3 & Album Announcement!

My Brightest Diamond (a.k.a. Shara Worden) has announced a release date of October 18th for her new album, All Things Will Unwind. Described as a “chamber pop” album, the new lyrics are said to explore class differences, the complexity of the atom, the beginning and end of time, and the experience of becoming a mother. Shara is offering a free, legal mp3 download of the track “Reaching Through To The Other Side” via her website below…

My Brightest Diamond – Reaching Through To The Other Side (mp3)*

*mp3 hosted on artist’s website & link posted w/ permission of her PR rep

All Things Will Unwind Tracklist:

1. We Added it Up
2. Reaching Through to the Other Side
3. In The Beginning
4. Escape Routes
5. Be Brave
6. She Does Not Brave the War
7. Ding Dang
8. There’s a Rat
9. High Low Middle
10. Everything is in Line
11. I Have Never Loved Someone

The album is not yet available for pre-order, but should be at the links below closer to the release date…

Pre-Order @ Amazon

My Brightest Diamond Official Site

The Decemberists: The Hazards of Love

The Decemberists will release their fifth full-length album The Hazards of Love on March 24th. Led by fellow bookworm Colin Meloy, the band never fails to impress me with their literary lyrical style and intricate melodies. This grand new concept album is no exception, but it is not another collection of soft folk acoustics and merry sea chanteys. Inspired by the British folk revival of the 1960s, The Decemberists transformed themselves into the hard rock progeny of Led Zeppelin for portions of the album. The result is a work that is equally as mesmeric to the ears as it is to the imagination.

The taiga shifted strange
The beast began to change
Singing: oh, the hazards of love
Oh, the hazards of love
You’ll learn soon enough

The seventeen songs of The Hazards of Love are populated by the maiden Margaret (who is ravaged by a shape-shifting animal), her lover William, an enigmatic forest queen – played by My Brightest Diamond‘s Shara Worden – and a murderous rake.

The ominous hum of “Prelude” gives way to the deceptively delicate pluck of “The Hazards Of Love 1 (The Prettiest Whistles Wont Wrestle the Thistles Undone)”, which quickly delves into the flowery prose of Margaret’s tragic tale.

My personal approach to music usually places sound above lyrical content. Not that what a songwriter says isn’t important, but I feel that even quoting Shakespeare can’t compensate for a weak voice or lackluster arrangements. Yet Meloy’s lyrical narratives are unquestionably the backbone of The Decemberists’ songs.

However. The brilliantly dramatic “A Bower Scene” (along with its twin “The Abduction Of Margaret”) rips that pretty little theory apart. In a similar fashion to how Xavier Rudd seared his aboriginal folk style with a dark rock reverberation in last year’s Dark Shades of Blue, The Decemberists suddenly morph into a thunderous folk-metal band invoking the spirit of Black Sabbath.

The guitars continue to crunch hard in “Wont Want For Love (Margaret In the Taiga)”, but are juxtaposed with the dulcet tones of Lavender Diamond’s Becky Stark. Stark sings as Margaret in several songs. “The Queen’s Approach” is a clangy banjo interlude before Stark and Meloy duet as Margaret and William in the gooey love song “Isn’t It A Lovely Night” (I suppose it says something unsavory about my personality that I’m more interested in the villains).

“The Wanting Comes In Waves / Repaid” is the soaring pop-rock number that reveals the connection between our hero William and the mysterious Forest Queen. The Queen is deliciously portrayed by Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond, who reprises the role in the headbanger epic “The Queens Rebuke/The Crossing”. I hope Meloy and Worden collaborate again in the future, they are genius together.

“The Rake’s Song” is a rock guitar murder ballad sans ballad. Who knew the narrator of the album was such a violent cad? The music strangely ebbs as the lyrical drama builds to its climax in songs like “Margaret In Captivity”. I fear spoiling the end of this musical novel by revealing the plot progression of “The Hazards Of Love 3 (Revenge!)”. Let’s just say it’s unexpectedly creepy and exciting.

I definitely recommend buying the entire album in this case, as the songs cut off abruptly when played as individual mp3s. But the story flows together seamlessly when played as a whole. The Hazards of Love is just waiting for some Broadway producer to turn it into a rock opera.

The Decemberists – The Rake’s Song (mp3 expired) *

*mp3 posted w/ permission of EMI Music

The Decemberists Official Site

Pre-order @ Amazon (only $9.99!)

The Decemberists

Mp3 Menagerie: Company of Thieves, Dirty Projectors, David Byrne, Fol Chen, My Brightest Diamond, Via Tania

Feed subscribers: I’ve temporarily changed Muruch’s feed to summary, so you’ll need to visit the site to download mp3s and read full reviews. I’m having trouble with a few websites hotlinking my mp3s and re-posting my content. Normally I just ignore such annoyances, but this is resulting in some Google indexing issues since Muruch has moved to its own domain. Hopefully this will be resolved soon and I’ll reinstate the full summary once it is corrected. Thanks!

Company of Thieves – Oscar Wilde (mp3 expired)

Catchy femme pop-rock. The first single from their Ordinary Riches album, which will be released on February 24th.

Company of Thieves Official Site

Buy @ Amazon

Dirty Projectors & David Byrne – Knotty Pine (mp3)

A quirky duet featuring the former Talking Heads frontman. From the Dark Was The Night compilation, which will be released on February 17th and benefits the Red Hot Organization.

Buy @ Amazon

Fol Chen – Cable TV (mp3)

The music is the slinky synth pop of ’80s Prince, the voice is monotone indie-girl. I love it. From their upcoming Part 1: John Shade, Your Fortune’s Made album.

Buy @ Amazon

My Brightest Diamond – Pluto’s Moon Remix (mp3)

Shark Remixes Vol. 2 features songs from My Brightest Diamond”s A Thousand Shark’s Teeth as remixed by Son Lux.

Buy Mp3s @ Amazon

Via Tania – Wonderful Stranger (mp3 expired)

Soft and pretty ballad from her Moon Sweet Moon album.

Buy @ Amazon

*all mp3s provided by & posted w/ permission of artists’ PR reps

My Brightest Diamond: A Thousand Shark’s Teeth

As I mentioned last month, My Brightest Diamond’s A Thousand Shark’s Teeth will be released on June 17th by Asthmatic Kitty Records. I received an advance copy of the CD almost two months, but was asked to hold my review until now in order to include an mp3. Such are the perils of writing a legal blog. This sophomore release by the Shara Worden vehicle is a mostly satisfying sequel to her darkly elegant debut. I only say “mostly” because I would love to hear Shara break out of her style box. But the seeming lack of diversity doesn’t detract from the beauty of Shara’s music, and is understandable considering that the songs on this album were written before and after the release of her debut.

The content of A Thousand Shark’s Teeth was apparently inspired by the paintings of German artist Anslem Kiefer, the photographs of Robert ParkeHarrison (also reflected in the sepia toned landscape of the album’s cover art), Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s films (I’m guessing more Amélie than Alien Resurrection!), and Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland – all wrapped in the atmospheric orchestration of marimbas, harps, clarinets, French horns, guitars, and vibraphones… not to mention Shara’s trembling soprano.

“Inside a Boy” slips in with a graceful, murky arrangement and haunting vocals that are signature Shara, with churning guitar accents. The song – like many on the album – would make a lovely Radiohead and PJ Harvey (or Björk) collaboration, if they were ever so inclined to record a cover. “The Ice & The Storm” begins with simple heartbeat percussion and tinkling piano, slowly rising on waves of strings and rapturous vocals.

“If I Were Queen” is my favored track – so subtle and beautiful with only soft strings supporting Shara’s ethereal quiver. “From The Top Of The World” drops into a deeper, sensual beat. Other stunners are the dramatic “Black and Costaud” – which borrows lyrics from an opera by Maurice Ravel – and the exotic instrumentation of “Bass Player”. Shara’s seraphic voice really takes flight in “Like a Sieve”.

If you missed it the first time around, I wrote a track by track comparison of Shara’s previous album Bring Me The Workhorse and its remix counterpart Tear It Down.

My Brightest Diamond Official Site
MBD MySpace

I assume you’ll be able to buy the album here on the release date.

Coming Soon: New My Brightest Diamond Album

My Brightest Diamond’s A Thousand Shark’s Teeth will be released on June 17th by Asthmatic Kitty Records. I was privileged enough to receive an advance copy of the CD, but was asked to hold off on a full review until closer to the release date (when I’ll then have permission to share an mp3). I will say that – though I’d hoped Shara might try a different sound on at least a few of the new songs – the album is a solid continuation of the dark elegance cultivated on her debut.

As I said above, I will be doing a full album review in a month or so with mp3 and pre-order link. In the meantime, check out my track by track comparison from last year of Shara’s two previous albums Bring Me The Workhorse and its remix counterpart Tear It Down.

My Brightest Diamond Official Site
My Brightest Diamond MySpace